February 14, 2013
By Barbara Blackburn
LAWT Contributing Writer
Recent mass shootings have placed a renewed national focus on gun violence and its consequences. With voters across Los Angeles heading to the polls on March 5, the issue of public safety has taken on a particular urgency in Southeast L.A., where voters are poised to decide who will next represent the Ninth District on the City Council.
As Election Day approaches, one thing has become clear: the next council member from the Ninth District must come into office prepared to make public safety and crime prevention a top priority. In a city where crime is falling overall, Southeast L.A. — covered by LAPD divisions that include Central, Newton, 77th and Southeast — experienced an uptick in violent crime last year.
The leading candidate in the race, Senator Curren Price, has a long record of seeking creative and effective solutions to crime and violence reduction. As a state legislator, Price serves on the Senate Committee on Public Safety, as well as on a key subcommittee on Corrections, Court Administration, and Public Safety. His signature approach to making neighborhoods safer is a fusion of crime prevention, intervention and suppression.
As his campaign has visited with thousands of voters in the Ninth District, Price believes constituents expect their next council representative to show urgency on the issues of crime and violence.
“I have spoken to residents and business owners in every corner of the Ninth District,” said Price. “From the proud neighborhoods in the southeast portion of the district to University Park, there is one issue that unifies people everywhere: deep concern about crime and public safety. These concerns are heightened for the most at-risk neighborhoods in Southeast L.A. — which was the only part of the city that experienced an increase in violent crime last year. It is an issue that we must tackle immediately, and a duty that requires experience, dedication and focus.”
As a sitting state legislator, Price is not waiting until he arrives at City Hall to begin making change. Already, with the eyes of the nation fixed on how our society can reduce gun violence, Price is considering legislation that would place an additional tax on ammunition sales — with the dollars going toward better funding the state’s Victims Compensation Board. In recent months, Price was among the local officials who supported gun buyback events that resulted in the surrender of thousands of deadly weapons to the LAPD and L.A. County Sheriff’s Department.
A longtime proponent of community policing and strengthening ties between local law enforcement and the communities they serve, Price firmly believes that the next council member must be prepared to fight for the necessary funding to making communities safer. That includes increased staffing at all LAPD divisions in South L.A., and a police department that is better resourced across the board.
“Gun violence is a public health issue,” said Price. “Leadership is essential, because there is no higher calling than making neighborhoods safer for our families and children.”